Documentary / 2020 / HD / 23’

The 20th century - age of the planned cities. “L’artificio” shows the vision of a utopian urban landscape from the 1960s interwoven with today’s inhabitants who play themselves, thus giving the planned city Zingonia in Bergamo a voice. Story fragments of a dreamed city.

Maria Ferrarese, Said & Said, Anna Ferrarese, Guillelmo Dominguez, Macta N’Doye, Anonymous, Cheikh Diop, Delia Amelia Dominguez.

Direction: Francesca Bertin
Camera: Max Sänger
Sound: Malte Rollbühler & Elena Friedrich
Editing: Max Sänger, Francesca Bertin, Malte Rollbühler
Grading: Stephan Knauss
Sound Design & Sound Mixing: Mario Schöning
Credits and Poster: Steffen Goldkamp
Production: Francesca Bertin
Funded by Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein

Language: Italian, Spanish, Wolof, Arabic
Subtitles: English / German

A text by Birgit Glombitza.

Zingonia. A model city of the modern age. Built in 1964 by the private investor Renzo Zingone to compete with Milan for the status of industrial location. As a symbol of economic euphoria for the future and architectural incorporation of the workers employed in the adjacent industrial buildings. Or should be. For only some of the buildings were completed, not all the factories were built. Resistance from five affected communities prevented the fulfilment of Zingone's complete vision. What emerged nevertheless is a structural assertion of shared prosperity, spacious, stately places and the general good of useful efficiency. And what became increasingly orphaned over the years of the oil crisis and the ups and downs of inflation created a socio-cultural wasteland that was used by drug trafficking and prostitution as opaque niches.

Zingonia's ideological semantics lived in concrete until its demolition (2019). An urban design structured by iconic brands such as fountains, sky-high monuments in roundabouts and the piled up existences of the working people. Nothing should slow down the worker on the way to the factory. Following the example of Oscar Niemeyer's communist Fantasialand Brasilia, it was built in 1964. But unlike Niemeyer's interest in social, discursive, collectively reconciling architecture and his rejection of the orthogonal, here the working people are stratified in monolithic verticals. And unlike the Brazilian, with Zingonia, investors, the private sector, and the local Italian governing parties have, in addition to political representation, a system of exploitation in mind that proposes an agreement between capital and labour to the working people in post-Fordism. Modern apartments with luxurious sanitary facilities at the time, a supposedly social architecture to lull the working people into the capitalist dream of sharing in economic prosperity.

Even if Zingonia Zingones never came true. It was inhabited, populated and animated. By migrants and people who wanted to escape the poverty and unemployment. They came, stayed and made Zingonia their place in a variety of ways, giving it their own meaning, writing their own life on its walls. And they do not see why none of this should have any meaning.

They are the protagonists in Francesca Bertin's L'ARTIFICIO. In melancholy vignettes, the director traces the factual and dreamed biographies of the inhabitants. She observes their reinterpretation and conversion of public and private spaces, their handling of the impending demolition. What emerges is a cinematic questioning of the architectural will and political notion of modularly malleable identity. And many stories of individual resistance, stubborn use and dreams of the creation of value from one's own in the foreign.